DIY wedding invitation with alice in wonderland theme

As I’m in my fourteenth year as a wedding photographer, it is amazing to look back and consider the amazing DIY brides that I’ve photographed over the years.  We really cater to the DIY wedding couples who value photography, yet are looking to both express themselves and cut back on wedding expenses.

Here are my top handful of ways that you can showcase your own talents, personality, and family heirlooms on your wedding day without breaking the bank.

DIY Wedding Flowers

I’ve had countless brides who have put together their own bouquets, and they have all been charming, unique, and deeply personal.  I’ve seen them made out of broaches, paper folding, pinecones, silk and fresh flowers, and with all kinds of personal details.

Bride with handmade oragami bouquet near maplewood MO

bride with purple and black flowers and purple and black hair

DIY pinecone wedding bouquet in St. Peters MO

vintage handmade wedding bouqet with fabric in St. Charles MO

DIY Wedding Decor

It’s always special when I hear about brides and grooms who have gathered friends and family together to create unique and meaningful decor for their wedding day.  Often it is for the reception and table decor, but even at the wedding venue we see many personal details shining through. Here are a handful of DIY backdrops and centerpieces that really stand out.

DIY door wedding background white and gray

DIY wooden background with greenery at wedding in St. Peters MO for winter wedding

mad hatters tea part decoration wedding in st. louis

cards hanging as decoration at wedding reception

DIY Guest books

When I was a kid my parents stuck by the tradition of a guestbook on a stand by the front door.  As guests stopped by, they’d sign the book, and occasionally we’d go back through and reminisce about the people who had filled our home. Even today, though that tradition is rare, the wedding guest book still remains. In many weddings though, the book itself is often replaced with more personal or decorative options.

Some of my clients have used rocks, thumbprints, or plates for guests to sign.

One favorite DIY guestbook was a vintage copy of a favorite novel.

Though not entirely DIY, we offer a photo guest book that showcases engagement photography.  This is certainly personal and a keepsake for years to come.

vintage book as guest book at wedding in St. Louis MO

DIY Wedding Food and Dessert

Cooking your own food for your wedding day certainly comes with its own logistical challenges.  Some of the ways wedding couples have tied their favorite foods into the wedding day has been such a (tasty!) pleasure.  It hasn’t all been exactly do it yourself, but keeping the responsibilities close to home or helping the caterer truly cater to your clever ideas can really heighten the celebration.

I’ve seen s’mores, handmade pies and cakes, and even donuts!

DIY pie table at wedding reception near St. Charles MO

lemon pie at wedding reception

wedding reception decor with flowers and cake pops

wedding reception donut cake tower

DIY Wedding Activities

Dinner and dancing may be the best route for many, but we’ve had many couples pass in front of my lens that were really seeking to find an alternative to those traditional activities- something to suit their guests and themselves better.

I’ve attended bonfire receptions, seen handmade beanbag toss games, board game rooms, and even Guitar Hero competitions and costumes!

It’s fun for your guests when you consider their preferences and are willing to think outside the box. As much as I love hitting the dance floor, I know just as many friends who would much rather grab a cup of hot cocoa and play a board game or do a puzzle at their table.

board games at wedding reception in Tower Grove Park

bride and groom playing guitar hero at reception

playing guitar hero at a wedding reception

costumes at wedding reception in Tower Grove Park St. Louis

Couple kissing at Alice in Wonderland Reception with hanging deck of cards

DIY bean bag toss at St. Louis wedding reception

I am eager to see what new and clever DIY brides come my way in the coming wedding seasons! It’s always an adventure and keeps it fresh as we continue to celebrate new families!